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12 April 2024

Former BA student's dissertation published in Swiss Think Tank

Kemal Mohamedou, who holds a BA in International Relations from the Department of War Studies, published a dissertation titled “The Wagner Group, Russia’s Foreign Policy and Sub-Saharan Africa” in the Geneva Centre for Security Policy's (GCSP) Geneva Paper publication series.

Kamal Dissertation

Kemal’s paper highlights the Wagner Group’s role as a significant tool in advancing Russia’s foreign policy objectives in sub-Saharan Africa, notably through geopolitical repositioning. Since its inception in 2014, the Wagner Group has carried out various military activities worldwide, serving beyond a traditional private military contractor (PMC), and providing military training and support, securing strategic assets and resources, and enhancing Russian soft power through propaganda and cultural influence.

Unlike typical private military contractors, the Wagner Group acts as an extension of Russian military and foreign policy. Evidence of this includes Wagner’s involvement in military actions supporting Russian interests in Mali and the Central African Republic.

“Wagner and Russian media operations in Africa actively promote anti-Western narratives, leveraging historical colonial grievances. Such propaganda aims to reframe Russia as a supportive partner in contrast to the perceived neo-colonial interests of Western powers. This creates a network of countries with Russia-aligned interests by diluting Western power and influence globally.”

Kemal Mohamedou

In the Central African Republic, Wagner has supported President Faustin-Archange Touadéra's government by providing military training and personal security during rebel attacks. This strengthens Russia's influence in the region. In Mali, Wagner has filled the security vacuum left by withdrawing Western forces.

Kemal was supervised by Dr Oisín Tansey, Professor of International Politics in the Department of War Studies.

"It was a real pleasure working with Kemal on his dissertation. He brought a great deal of enthusiasm to the process and he produced a highly topical and original piece of work. I was delighted, but not at all surprised, to see his excellent research published for a wider audience."

Dr Oisín Tansey

The published paper can be viewed here.

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Oisín Tansey

Professor of International Politics